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Getting Around Isn't Easy With a Visual Impairment

I have been waxing philosophical for a few pages now. Professional hazard. In my work I come upon all sorts of good ideas I want to share. However, now I guess I really should come back to Earth.

Practical subject: Getting around. I get a lot of grief about getting around. Either people express disappointment and tell me how cool something was that I missed or they yell at me for doing something they don’t think I should do.

Not being able to go somewhere

Case in point: There was a yoga benefit in town Saturday. I found out about it Thursday evening. I would have had to rearrange my transportation before noon Friday and even then be at the mercy of a transportation system that works with a skeleton crew on Saturday. I would have been in the van for up to an hour just to get home. I decided not to go but heard all about it from several different sources. “You should have been there!” Got that but sometimes things don’t work out when you are visually impaired.

Getting approval or permission?

Then there was today. I had my bike and rode home from town. Before my friend would “approve” of me riding home alone, I had to outline my route and practically swear in blood I would not become roadkill...which I did not, by the way, considering I am at home writing this.

Predictability and routine

All by way of saying, as a visually impaired person in small-town America, I have made a few discoveries about getting around. The watchwords here are predictability and routine. We rock getting me to and from my regular things. I can pretty much predict what time the van will come to take me to matter what the dispatcher says. I have my “people” who are rock solid dependable in getting me to regularly scheduled activities and back home.

On the calendar or I can't go

The problem comes when a little unpredictability or spontaneity is called for. Then things breakdown. Unless I want to pay outrageous, regular cab fare, I must have everything scheduled before noon the previous business day. The transportation turns into a pumpkin at 7 pm so there are no plays or evening movies or late dining and definitely none of those things can happen on a whim. If it is not something my people are going to, I am stuck. And finding someone who can drop everything and go on a whim can be challenging. Not to mention, even if I find that person, she lives 10 miles in the wrong direction!

Trying to stay indepenedent

Then there is the other side of the coin: Not depending on people and trying to “do it myself.” People question me. They want to supervise me. Hey, I get their point. I am legally blind but I still do have SOME common sense. I have started crossing at the crosswalks and even pushing the button for the light. I don’t try to beat a car I know is coming. I AM careful!

So that is my current rant about getting around in small-town America. The transportation system is better than nothing and my people are great. Just the same, some days I would kill to be able to go for ice cream in the evening on a whim and without someone trying to hold my hand to cross the street. Does anyone relate?

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This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

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